Here are several “characteristics” that are vital in assuring the health of the animals under your care:
· The marine salt must be capable of performing effectively and consistently under a variety of make-up water source chemistries. Here’s why: attempting to customize different salt formulas to address various aquarium facility freshwater sources is inefficient and fraught with potential formulation errors! This process would also likely lead to inconsistency from one salt shipment to the next.
· The marine salt must dissolve quickly and clear rapidly with little or no precipitate. Here’s why: LSS Operators have enough duties to perform, without worrying about the presentation of water clarity for public viewing. Low grade elements included in “cheap” salts come with a “price” of extra impurities. Most importantly, the LSS Operators can streamline water changes very quickly.
· The marine salt must produce “gin clear” saltwater, without brownish or yellowish tints. Here’s why: the “at the gate” public revenue is what assures the on-going success of every exhibit. Artificial salt additives can give the saltwater an “off-color” not what the public wants to see. Also, this “sludge” can clog and ruin pumps, filters and other equipment. The necessity is to avoid this circumstance, in order to avoid repairs and additional clean-up.
· The marine salt must not contain chelators, artificial clarifiers or drying agents (desiccants)- including montmorillonite clay, EDTA, YPS (yellow prussiate of soda), Potassium ferrocyanide, etc. Here’s why: Each of these chemicals present potential hazards to the health of the marine life, as the attached references attest. The potential for cyanide poisoning is of special concern. The iron component in several of these additives can lead to unsightly algae blooms. Many of these “chelators” render micronutrients bio-unavailable, not conducive to sensitive corals, invertebrates, etc.
· The marine salt must not contain: phosphates, nitrates, ammonia or silicates. Here’s why: these contaminants can also serve as fertilizer for algae and diatom “blooms” both of which are difficult for husbandry to control.
· The marine salt must have a formulation within close proximity to natural seawater, while also generating a pH in the range of 8.3. Here’s why: unbalanced, unnatural salt formulations inevitably result in downstream issues with system chemistry and unwanted health issues for the aquatic inhabitants. Ion imbalances simply get worse over time.
· The marine salt manufacturer should provide a method for addressing either chlorinated municipal water or R/O, DI or well water. Here’s why: Eliminating chlorine from many municipal water systems is absolutely essential for the health of the marine life. When chlorine is not present in the water source, an alternative salt mix (without sodium thiosulfate) should be offered when R/O, DI or well water is utilized.
· The marine salt should be able to produce salinities between the accepted ranges of 32 to 35 ppt. Here’s why: most salt brands have cut the quantity of elements in their packages, resulting in yield of only 28 to 30 ppt’s. Whereas appearing somewhat insignificant, the excess cost per year over thousands of gallons of saltwater produced is astounding.
· The marine salt provider should be able to demonstrate years, if not decades, of performance based experience and successful results in a variety of major aquarium usages. Here’s why: a host of so-called salt manufacturers have come and gone over the years! Most of these firms are not manufacturers at all, but merely private label packagers that have absolutely no direct knowledge or control of the quality of salt which they sell.
· The marine salt provider should be able to provide a variety of package options, including easy-to-lift cartons for free -standing exhibits, and Bulk Bags for commercial scale production. Here’s why: the convenience of providing a “hybrid” shipment option, combining both smaller and larger size packages in the same shipment, makes LSS operations more efficient and cost effective.
· The marine salt supplier should be able to demonstrate their professional ability to meet service needs in quality, delivery and industry knowledge. Here’s why: mere “sellers of salt” do not understand, nor can they address, the fact that every aquarium has its own unique “profile”, often-times requiring “thinking out of the box” solutions. This value added service cannot be provided by unknowing salt purveyors.